Europe’s massive stimulus program is slimming down.
The European Central Bank announced Thursday that it will reduce the scale of its bond buying program in January 2018.
As part of the program, which began in March 2015, the ECB has been purchasing €60 billion ($71 billion) worth of government bonds and other assets each month. Starting next year, the buys will be slashed to €30 billion ($35 billion) per month.
However, the central bank also said the purchases would continue at that pace deep into 2018. The bank indicated the program would run at its reduced level until at least September — but longer if needed.
The program — a form of quantitative easing — has helped support the economy by keeping borrowing costs low for households and businesses. That, in turn, has increased spending and helped spur economic growth.
Investors reacted to the bank’s announcement by pushing the euro lower. Stock markets remained in positive territory.
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